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the crux of the matter

The focal, central, or most important element of a topic, problem, or issue. Over the course of this trial, the prosecution intends to get to the crux of the matter regarding this company's shady financial dealings.
See also: crux, matter, of

root cause

The most fundamental, central, or basic causal element of something. Violence in this part of town is rampant, but the root cause is really poverty and the wide distribution of narcotics. You're never going to solve your company's financial issues if you can't identify the root cause of your flagging sales.
See also: cause, root

rooting interest

A strong desire to support a particular person or group. Primarily heard in US. My brother is a huge sports fan and has a rooting interest in all our local teams. I have a rooting interest in that candidate and am going to be campaigning for her.
See also: interest, root

*the crux of the matter

 and *the root of the matter;
See also: crux, matter, of

Idleness is the root of all evil.

Prov. If you have no useful work to do, you will think of harmful things to do in order to amuse yourself. (Compare this with Money is the root of all evil.) Child: Why do you make me do so many chores? Father: Idleness is the root of all evil.
See also: all, evil, of, root

Money is the root of all evil.

 and The love of money is the root of all evil.
Prov. People do many evil things in order to get rich. (Biblical. Compare this with Idleness is the root of all evil.) Fred: I know I could make more money if I just knew the right things to invest in. Ellen: Don't worry so much about money. It's the root of all evil, after all. As the newspapers continued to report the dastardly things the wealthy young banker had done to become even wealthier, people shook their heads and remarked, "The love of money is the root of all evil."
See also: all, evil, money, of, root

put roots down (some place)

to settle down somewhere; to make a place one's permanent home. I'm not ready to put roots down anywhere yet. I'm ready to put down roots someplace. I want to settle down. I want to put roots down and buy a house.
See also: down, put, root

root around (for something)

to dig or shuffle in or through something, looking for something. Alice rooted around in her desk drawer for a pen. I'll root around here and see if I can find it.
See also: around, root

root for someone or something

to cheer and encourage someone or something. Are you rooting for anyone in particular, or are you just shouting because you're excited? I'm rooting for the home team.the root of the matter Go to the crux of the matter.
See also: root

*root of the problem

an understanding of the causes or basis of a problem. (*Typically: determine ~; figure out ~; find ~; get to ~; get at ~.) It will take a little more study to get to the root of the problem. Let's stop avoiding the issue and get at the root of the problem.
See also: of, problem, root

root someone or something out of something

 and root someone or something out
to seek and remove someone or something from something or some place; to seek to discover or bring something to light. The committee wanted to root all the lazy people out of the club. The manager rooted out all the deadwood.
See also: of, out, root

root something in something

to start a plant growing roots in something. I tried to root the plants in sand, but they died. You have to root this kind of tree in very rich soil.
See also: root

root something out

to get rid of something completely; to destroy something to its roots or core. No government will ever root out crime completely. The principal wants to root out troublemakers at the local school.
See also: out, root

root something up

[for a pig] to find something in the ground by digging with its nose. The pigs will root your plants up if they get out of their pen. The pigs will root up your plants if they get out of their pen.
See also: root, up

rooted in something

based on something; connected to a source or cause. The civil war was rooted in old cultural hatred. This fictional book was rooted in actual events.
See also: root

*rooted to something

[of someone] firmly attached to something. (*Typically: be ~; become ~.) She is firmly rooted to her homeland and has no intention of emigrating. The farmer is rooted to the land and will not leave.
See also: root

*rooted to the spot

Fig. unable to move because of fear or surprise. (*Typically: appear to be ~; be ~;become ~.) Jane stood rooted to the spot when she saw the ghostly figure. Mary stood rooted to the spot when the thief snatched her bag.
See also: root, spot

take root

 
1. Lit. [for a plant] to develop roots in soil or some other growing medium. The new plants should take root in a few weeks and start growing.
2. Fig. to begin to take hold or have effect. Things will begin to change when my new policies take root. My ideas began to take root and influence other people.
See also: root, take

root for somebody/something

to support or encourage a person or team I always root for the home team. When you take the test tomorrow, we'll be rooting for you.
Usage notes: often used when talking about a sports competition
See also: root

root out something

also root something out
to find and remove a problem She promises to root out corruption in state government. Retreating forces can blend into the landscape, making it more difficult to root them out.
See also: out, root

take root

to become established take hold The organization took root all over the world and began expanding its many programs.
Usage notes: often refers to an idea or set of beliefs: Has democracy truly taken root in the region?
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of take root (to start to grow roots in the ground)
See also: root, take

put down roots

to feel that you belong in a place He hasn't put down roots anywhere because he has trouble making new friends.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form pull up roots (to move away from a place in which you felt comfortable): It's hard to pull up roots after living in the area for ten years.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of put down roots (to start to grow roots in the ground)
See also: down, put, root

rooted to the spot

not able to move Mary was afraid and wanted to run away, but she was rooted to the spot and watched as the building collapsed.
See also: root, spot

the grass roots

the ordinary people in a society or political organization and not the leaders (often + of ) The feeling among the grass roots of the party is that the leaders aren't radical enough.
See let the grass grow under feet, be like watching grass grow
See also: grass, root

root and branch

  (formal)
if something is changed or removed root and branch, it is changed or removed completely because it is bad Racism must be eliminated, root and branch. (formal)
See also: and, branch, root

take root

if an idea, belief, or system takes root somewhere, it starts to be accepted or established there Democracy is now struggling to take root in most of these countries.
See also: root, take

put down roots

if you put down roots in a place, you do things which show that you want to stay there, for example making friends or buying a home It would be hard to leave Brighton after eleven years - he's put down roots there.
See also: down, put, root

glued/rooted to the spot

if you are glued to the spot, you cannot move, usually because you are very shocked or frightened I stood there rooted to the spot as he came nearer and nearer.
See also: glue, spot

put down roots

Settle somewhere, become established, as in We've put down roots here and don't want to move away. This metaphoric expression, first recorded in 1921, likens the rooting of a plant to human settlement.
See also: down, put, root

root and branch

Utterly, completely, as in The company has been transformed root and branch by the new management. Alluding to both the underground and aboveground parts of a tree, this idiom was first recorded in 1640.
See also: and, branch, root

rooted to the spot

Not moving, especially owing to some strong emotion. For example, When the truck bore down on the dog, he was terrified and stood rooted to the spot. This idiom likens the roots of a plant to a strong feeling that keeps one from moving.
See also: root, spot

root for

Cheer on, give moral support to, as in The fans were out rooting for their team, or I've been rooting for you to get that promotion. This expression may come from the British verb rout, which is used of cattle and means "bellow." [Late 1800s]
See also: root

root of the matter

The essential part or cause of something, as in We still don't understand what happened; we must get to the root of the matter. This expression was first recorded in the Bible (Job 19:28).
See also: matter, of, root

root out

Search for, seek to discover, as in He was trying to root out the reason for her long absence. This idiom alludes to the way hogs dig by using their snouts. [Mid-1800s]
See also: out, root

take root

Become established or fixed, as in We're not sure how the movement took root, but it did so very rapidly. This idiom transfers the establishment of a plant, whose roots settle into the earth, to other matters. [Late 1500s]
See also: root, take

root for

v.
1. To dig in the earth with or as if with the snout or a paw in order to find something: The pigs rooted for truffles.
2. To lend encouragement and support to someone or something: We all rooted for our school's football team.
See also: root

root in

v.
1. To cause something, as a plant, to grow roots in something: The gardener rooted the plant in good soil.
2. To have something as a primary source or origin. Used in the passive: Homelessness is very often rooted in poverty. The word "tantalize" is rooted in Greek mythology.
See also: root

root out

v.
1. To uncover or expose the source of something: The government agents rooted out the source of the drug money. The mayor hated corruption and vowed to root it out.
2. To incapacitate or destroy something at its source: The exterminator was unable to root out the last few mice from the kitchen. The gophers are making a mess of the lawn—we need to root them out!
See also: out, root

root up

v.
1. To remove something by the roots: We had to root up the tree stumps in our new yard. Let's root these weeds up before it rains.
2. To unearth or expose some cause, solution, or basis: The public health officials rooted up the cause of the pandemic. I don't know what the answer is, but I'm sure we can root it up on the Internet.
See also: root, up

root

1. n. a cigarette or a cigar. That root you’re smoking sure stinks.
2. in. to eat food like a pig. Bart is downstairs rooting now. It won’t take that slob long to eat.

rooting-tooting

mod. exciting; renown; famous; illustrious. (A vague adjective of praise.) We really had a rooting-tooting time last weekend.

put down roots

To establish a permanent residence in a locale.
See also: down, put, root

root and branch

Utterly; completely: The organization has been transformed root and branch by its new leaders.
See also: and, branch, root

take root

1. To become established or fixed.
2. To become rooted.
See also: root, take
References in classic literature ?
He could not venture to descend any further; so holding on with one hand, he with the other shook one by one all the slender roots around him, and at last, finding one which he thought trustworthy, shifted him self to it and continued his downward progress.
On arriving towards the end of the second stage in this vertical journey, and shaking the long roots which were round me, to my consternation they snapped off one after another like so many pipe stems, and fell in fragments against the side of the gulf, splashing at last into the waters beneath.
The place of the latter was here supplied by oaks and other of the harder woods; and around their roots clustered a dense and bushy under-growth, leaving, however, barren spaces between the trees, thick strewn with withered leaves.
Yet in the next moment Reuben's eye was caught by another change that time had effected since he last stood where he was now standing again behind the earthy roots of the uptorn tree.
In return, Pig-Jaw gave them goat-meat to eat and goat-skins to wear, and sometimes they traded the goat-meat for fish and corn and fat roots.
Then they told Three-Legs and the other land-owners that they would take their share of corn and roots in money, Little-Belly that they would take their share of fish in money, Pig-Jaw that they would take their share of goats and cheese in money.
The matter was settled by the sheriff of the county, who as the lawful custodian of the abandoned estate ordered the root replaced and the excavation filled with the earth that had been removed.
But the time will come; and when, in their changed ashes, the growth of centuries unborn has struck its roots, the restless men of distant ages will repair to these again unpeopled solitudes; and their fellows, in cities far away, that slumber now, perhaps, beneath the rolling sea, will read in language strange to any ears in being now, but very old to them, of primeval forests where the axe was never heard, and where the jungled ground was never trodden by a human foot.
Now I had grown tall and overshadowed him; therefore he would root me up.
And there at the edge of the pool floated the drowned ox, its foot caught in a forked root.
Then he went up to it, turned it into stone, and drove it down with the flat of his hand so as to root it in the ground.
Then the two sat down by the root of the great olive, and consulted how to compass the destruction of the wicked suitors.
So it was, as the laying season began, and when both Bashti and Agno were acutely egg-yearning after six months of abstinence, that Agno led Jerry along the taboo path through the mangroves, where they stepped from root to root above the muck that ever steamed and stank in the stagnant air where the wind never penetrated.
If they drank root beer or sarsaparilla, I drank root beer or sarsaparilla with them.
I've given him up for my part - fairly disowned him - cast him off, root and branch.